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lipp piano

 R. Lipp & Sohn piano

Founded: 1831 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Actual status: out of production
Age: Ripp piano serial numbers

What we know about Lipp pianos?

Richard, born on May 11, 1805, became the founder of the company "Rich. Lipp", the later Kgl. Hof-Pianofortefabrik in Stuttgart. Rich. Lipp was apprenticed to the Stuttgart court instrument maker Theodor Christoph Haug and also spent part of his journeyman years there. On his travels, he also spent time in Regensburg with a master craftsman who is no longer known.

In November 1831, he then established his business in Stuttgart, on Hauptstraße, with two workers. Lipp sold his first instruments in Stuttgart and Württemberg. Soon after - but still in the thirties - it was celebrated as an event when the first instrument was handed over to the freight carrier (railroads didn't exist yet) for transportation to 'abroad', to 'Mannheim'. German neighboring states were still "foreign countries" at that time.

Sales spread through Baden, Hesse, down the Rhine to Holland and to "Bavaria". In the forties he started exporting pianinos to Italy, Russia, Sweden, England, Argentina, South Africa and Australia and expanded it constantly.

First shipments at the beginning of the sixties went by sea to Asia, Australia, later the instruments found distribution all over the world.

Already six years after the foundation the number of workers increased to 15, eight years later to 40 workers. Lipp looked for new factory premises, moved, had more working and storage rooms built.  "Rich. Lipp was a staunch supporter of manual labor and an outspoken opponent of machinery. The machine - as he repeatedly stated - had no intelligence, no feeling, no thinking, and without such preconditions a proper work could not be created. ... Lipp saw his art in his work, and constant improvement and perfection was his pleasure. ... Mr. Richard Lipp continued to work at Tallicht until 1860, both summer and winter, from 5 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock in the evening. - That was the normal working time for the "assistants" at that time.

The steam-operated machines performed only coarse work. The finer work was done faithfully to the tradition "of the house with the hand, because Papa Lipp preached it too often to his younger ones: that only the good trained intelligent and conscientious human hand can create the noble in the Clavierfache".

First "pianos" built by Rich. Lipp were simple table-shaped pianofortes, still with front voices and square feet". Not for long, then Lipp went over to rear-voiced pianofortes with improved mechanics, "for the time being still two-voiced".

He carried out his innovations and improvements himself, without ever thinking of "patenting" them. "Among many other things, it can be mentioned that he first used the 'sound bar' on his table claviers, then very early on he discarded the leather coating of the hammers and used exclusively felt. - At first it was wool felt; but since this was not always sufficient for him, he was probably the first to have hair felt procured by a hatter friend of his in Stuttgart. Before him, no one had ever thought of using this material.

Already in the 50s, the first cross-stringed, three-ranked table pianos were built. Only shortly before that he built straight-stringed pianinos. In the sixties, he built the cross-stringed pianos with a "peculiar rest construction and plate construction, which, in a relatively low construction, obtained a powerful fullness of tone through a very oblique string action and a large scale length. They caused a sensation at the time and were often copied.

The construction of the grand piano began in 1866. The first concert grand piano was played by the famous pianist Hans von Bülow (von Bülow was repeatedly praised for the products of other important companies in advertisements) - was a "resounding success". It was purchased by "Sr. Maj. King Karl von Württemberg. The creation of this masterpiece earned Rich. Lipp the 'great golden medal for art and science'".

Lipp his instruments achieved "perfection and durability". Justified also in the selection of the material and "the proper own care of the same. Even selected wood of the many, different types, which are necessary for the interior and exterior construction of a piano, must always be available cut into planks and boards for many years in advance. ... Hence the mighty wood stores that cover a large area. The remaining material is handled with the same care in the selection and processing. ... Plates are cast in Stuttgart - naturally after own models - from best metal. Mechanics used to come partly from Paris (before 1820), partly they were manufactured by Lipp himself. Since then, Isermann and Jacob Keller have been supplying them.


Lipp's principle was not to finish an instrument quickly, "but to allow a longer pause after each stage of work, of which there are ten to twelve to go through, in order to achieve complete safety and durability of the construction. Therefore, a relatively large number of instruments must always be put to work".

The company received honorable awards at the 1854 Munich exhibition for "table pianos", in 1862 in London for table pianos and upright pianos, and in 1873 in Vienna for upright pianos and grand pianos. In the following world exhibitions the company received "highest prizes".

In 1873, the annual production was 400 pieces, and the manufacturing number reached 7,375.   A large annex was added to the factory. "At the same time the whole establishment was equipped with steam and water pipe. Lighting is currently gas throughout. Because of lack of space, work had to be done outside the factory in two branches."

Of his three sons and two daughters, the third son, Robert, took over the company in 1873 for only a short time, which was renamed "Rich. Lipp & Son" was changed. Rich. Lipp retired to Cannstatt due to "sickliness" and died there on September 17, 1874.

In 1880 the company was awarded the diploma "Kgl. Hof-Pianoforte-Fabrik". Robert Lipp died already in 1883 at the age of 32. His two older brothers were no longer alive at that time.

The court piano factory was continued by his father-in-law Eduard Beisbarth until his death in 1893 on May 15, 1893, shortly after his 81st birthday.

The technical management was taken over by Heinrich Auwärter, who had been with the company since 1859, and Th. Staub was the administrative manager. The latter left the company in 1890.

His son Paul Ed. Beisbarth joined the company in his place; a year later, he was granted power of attorney, which expired for Heinr. Auwärter. Heinrich Auwärter left the company and established his own piano factory in Stuttgart with his sons: "Auwärter & Söhne".

In 1886, the 13,645 instrument was completed, and the average number of workers was 110.


In 1890, "the management of the company passed into the hands" of Robert Lipp's brother-in-law, "the highly respected consul Paul Beisbarth, who is still at the helm today."

In 1890, a piano factory in Pforzheim, Rich. Lipp & Sohn with a repair workshop was opened by the former repairman Karl Scheid.

Mr. Paul Beisbarth sought out (1892) various dealers for the sale of Lipp's instruments. He also came to Saxony, to Leipzig to the piano dealer Mr. R. Bachroth.

In 1904, the company was registered by the commercial court: "The company ... has been transferred to the piano manufacturer Paul Beisbarth (sen.)", Mr. Karl Fischer was granted power of attorney.

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